Noise Control in a Boarding Kennels
If you are thinking of buying a
boarding kennels there is a great deal to consider. You will have the freedom of being your own boss, but lose the security of a monthly salary cheque. The various pros and cons are discussed in our article on owning a boarding kennels. The most challenging and often overlooked aspect is the problem of dogs barking, both as a source of stress within the kennels, to you and your employees and for generating complaints from nearby residents.
Dog Boarding and Noise Stress
This is something that can easily be overlooked in the excitement of making the decision to buy a kennels. People cope with noise differently - what is acceptable to one person is intolerable to another, and being kept awake all night by a barking dog is hard to cope with on a regular basis. Noise travels a long way on still nights and can cause problems with nearby residents, too. Even if you can cope with the noise be aware that complaints may be made to the Local Authority which may affect your annual license renewal.
There are people who buy a kennels and discover very soon that the noise is simply too stressful and quickly make the decision to sell. When we bought our kennels business we learned that it wasn't at all unusual for people to sell their kennels within two years; those who managed to survive five years tended to continue for many years.
Managing Barking Dogs
How noisy your kennels are depends both on the layout of the kennels and your dogs; some layouts force dogs to look at each other which can create confrontational situations. Whilst it is necessary and beneficial for dogs to have a social interaction with other dogs it is a fine balance between kenneling arrangements where dogs feel exposed and threatened and where they feel secure and relaxed in the company of others.
Macho dogs should not be kenneled where they can challenge each other, neither should terriers (generally speaking) be close to each other. In-season bitches should, of course be kenneled away from dogs.
We have used Aboistop collars with great success; most dogs dislike the burst of spray when they bark and quickly learn not to bark when wearing one. A supply of these is a good investment. For those dogs who bark as a bad habit they are excellent.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
It is not possible to control barking without understanding the reason for it. Some dogs are reacting aggressively to others, some bark out of stress and loneliness and some have acute feelings of separation away from their families. These are strategies to minimise barking:-
- Playing Music
- Predictable Routines
- Comfortable Bedding
- Warm and Draught-Free Accommodation
- Familiar Toys
- Regular Exercise
- Moderate Stimulation
- Good Interaction with Kennel Staff
Classical music is most successful as an aid to relaxation and should be played at night as well as during the day; it breaks up the night noises that cause sudden outbreaks of barking. Dogs respond well to routines. Routines reduce stress, the more predictable the daily routines the more relaxed dogs are.
Being comfortable is fairly obvious, as is achieving a balance between a totally boring environment and one where there is a something mildly interesting going on most of the time. Finally, the dogs need to feel comfortable with the staff and the staff need to have a genuine affection for the dogs.
Staff should be the best you can afford; you will easily recruit at the minimum wage, but it is a false economy to employ anyone who doesn't have a real fondness for dogs and the ability to build up relationships with them. These dogs will be happy boarding, which makes your job easier and your owners happier and likely to recommend your kennels.